Why anchor tenants are like the Batman of New Domains

WHOLE2-revised00.LONDON announced its anchor tenants in mid April, and the list is a run-down of amazing London-based organizations and businesses, including the London Symphony Orchestra, upscale retail giant Fortnum and Mason and Meantime Brewing Co. One of the reasons many domain market analysts believe .LONDON is going to be a very successful New Domain (other than the rallying support of the London community and government) is the placement of anchor tenants like these.

Anchor tenants are so important in New Domain development that ICANN has developed several incentives to encourage new TLD tenants to look for founding registries of their own, including a Qualified Launch Program, also announced in mid April, that allows registries to reserve 100 new TLD domains for chosen parties, to help promote New Domain awareness.

What are anchor tenants and why are they so paramount to success? Let’s use an extended Justice League metaphor to explore these questions. Mostly because Wonder Woman is awesome, but also why not?

Anchor tenants

The most common example of an anchor tenant, and the original example of the theory put into action, is a common indoor mall, where four large-scale department stores anchor the corners. The stores’ positioning forces foot traffic past smaller, more boutique shops. These anchor tenants bring customers into the mall; the smaller stores create the personality of a mall and help it stand out. All tenants are needed, but to attract the smaller stores, the anchor tenants are necessary to show the success potential of the space.

At least that was true in the 90s.

This example is dated, because department stores are in decline and people are shopping online more. That’s why it’s better to say that anchor tenants are like Batman and Superman, in the Justice League. It’s also more fun.

DC Comics use Batman’s and Superman’s fame to draw attention to the rest of the Justice League and allow the smaller superheroes to carve out a niche of their own. Batman and Superman do everything, much like a department store, but sometimes you need someone who can fight under water (or who just sells swimsuits), and that’s Aquaman. How’s this metaphor holding up, you ask? It’s stretched very thin, thank you for asking, but onward ho! The point is you need both. Batman and Superman don’t make up a Justice League on their own, but they’re needed to attract new superheroes and media attention.

In business, anchor tenants are defined as big name companies, organizations or individuals who boast the following qualities:

  • Industry weight
  • Market dominance
  • Staying power

Just like Batman and Superman.

Why are anchor tenants important?

New Domains are launching in an environment unlike any previously seen in the domain market. With so many New Domains launching at once, one of the best ways for a registry to gain exposure and stand out is to announce an alliance with big-name market anchors. Many of the New Domain registries are smaller registries, operating one or a handful of New Domains, making this type of exposure incredibly important in competing against big-name, long-standing domain registries.

Some examples include:

  • .NYC securing city organizations to strengthen the New Domain as being a New York-centered TLD meant for New Yorkers, by New Yorkers. .NYC’s anchor tenants are less broadly selected than .LONDON, but the selection mirrors the purpose of .NYC, which is to provide a credible New York digital space devoted to the city.
  • Artemis, the company behind .SECURE, lined up 30 anchor tenants to pledge to use the New Domain last year. Some of the tenants are banks — the selection of anchor tenants for .SECURE not only guarantees some exposure, but also help back the concept of the niche market.

When domain registries announce anchor tenants, they’re hoping that a) More big name tenants will be interested in buying domains and b) smaller-scale registrants will want to register, too. One of the most important aspects of taking a New Domain leap is to know that the domain has marketability and staying power.

If the big name tenants are Batman and Superman (London Symphony Orchestra), which attract mid-level tenants like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern (local London coffee shop), then awesome, highly-specialized tenants, like Black Canary and Red Tornado will feel more comfortable registering (citizens of London).

Anchor tenants develop domain communities akin to the Justice League. That’s badass.

For more information about New Domains, or to register one of your own, check out our New Domain guide.